Canadian Cycling Magazine - - MARKETPLAC­E -

When to go

The sum­mer is the best time to visit the Alps. The snow can be te­na­cious though. Stage 9 of the 2019 Tour de Suisse was sup­posed to be a vari­a­tion of our three passes ride, but snow held on to Susten Pass into late June so or­ga­niz­ers had to de­sign a new route. Our fi­nal ride was on Sept. 3. It snowed in Hospen­tal on Sept. 6.

What to carry

When you ride i n the moun­tains, carry cash. Restau­rants at the tops of passes of­ten don’t take credit or debit. Also, ride with lights. A strong rear light is es­sen­tial in tun­nels and on foggy days.

How to stay con­nected

I used an Al­wayson­line Wire­less (aow) sim card for data in Switzer­land and later at Euro­bike in Ger­many. I didn’t have voice or text, but mes­sag­ing ser­vices such as Whatsa pp are so widely used in Europe that I felt well-con­nected. The only thing to keep in mind with aow is that you need a new plan each time you en­ter a dif­fer­ent coun­try. When I trav­elled to Switzer­land, then Ger­many and then back to Switzer­land, I had to make sure I had three plans lined up, which can add up.

How to skip a pass to take on an­other one

On week­ends start­ing in late June and into Septem­ber, you can put your bike on a diesel train for free. Had we known this fact be­fore­hand, and had the weather been a bit more co-op­er­a­tive, we would have skipped Furka Pass one day to then ride Nufe­nen Pass and the Tre­mola side of Got­thard. The train would have been a great op­tion for avoid­ing a sec­ond day with more than 3,000 m of climb­ing for some­thing more chill, in the 2,000 m range, on new-to-us roads.

What to ride

We had bmc Road­ma­chines on our trip: Swiss bikes for Swiss rides. The Road­ma­chine 01 One came with sram Red etap axs run­ning 46/33-tooth chain­rings and a 10-33 tooth cas­sette. Those gears were great for get­ting over the climbs. The car­bon-fi­bre en­durance frame with com­pli­ance built into the seat­post, seat­stays and fork rode nicely on the cob­bles of Tre­mola.

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